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Pretty Sure I Cracked Uber + Lyft's Algorithm (The Reason for Reduced Surge/Prime Time)

Discussion in 'Surge' started by Trump Economics, May 19, 2017 at 9:22 PM.

  1. Trump Economics

    Trump Economics Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Hello, Uber and Lyft Payday Loan recipients!

    Just a therory, but after reading thousands of articles on both companies (inclusive of 8,000+ combined rides), I'm pretty sure I have their algorithms all figured out.

    In the past, I've indicated that Uber and Lyft's Surge/Prime Time pricing was illusory, but I couldn't elaborate. Yes, I was certain of my findings (based on predicatable weekly earnings that never changed), but not every piece of the puzzle was available.

    Then, today, like magic...

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-19/uber-s-future-may-rely-on-predicting-how-much-you-re-willing-to-pay

    My favorite part of the article?

    "Uber calculates riders’ propensity for paying a higher price for a particular route at a certain time of day. For instance, someone traveling from a wealthy neighborhood to another tony spot might be asked to pay more than another person heading to a poorer part of town, even if demand, traffic and distance are the same."

    Hmm, so if Uber is doing this, Lyft is doing it, too.

    So what does all of this mean?

    After a billion rides (combined), they know where you live, when you'll request a ride to work, what bars you frequent on Friday, and how much you're willing to pay for a ride -- then charge accordingly.

    "Well, Drunk-Brian paid $22 for a ride last weekend (and the weekend before that), so he's going to do it again this weekend. He tends to order a ride after having a few too many, so he doesn't care about the price. Charge him 'X' and he'll pay. We know where he works, and we know what his salary probably is. He can afford it. Have you seen what zip code he lives in? Rent is $3,500 minimum."

    Once again, they know when you'll request a ride. It's what AI (Artifical Intelligence) and algorithms are all about.

    So if they know when people are going to request a ride (and how many drivers are needed), the question is, "How do they get drivers where they need them to be in order for the demand to be met?"

    And magic... your screen lights up ORANGE or PINK (based on the platform of your choosing).

    For years, Uber and Lyft have been conditioning you (like a mouse to a piece of cheese) to think that different shades of color will earn you more money, when what they were really doing is preparing for the day when their system could collect enough data for their algorithms to act in accordance with demand. And yes, venture capital money was likely used to pay for all of these illusory rides up until now -- hence the losses.

    The result?

    You routinely end up in a Surge or Prime Time area, but get pinged with a call just outside that area (at a normal rate). And that's because you're not really in a high demand area, you're just in an area that's predicted to have demand.

    But what about the Surge and Prime Time calls that you do get?

    Fact: If they never gave out higher paying calls (fictitious or not), you'd stop responding to the perception of "high demand" (greater earnings); you'd stop driving to these areas and the system would break down. In other words, all behavior is rewarded, so you continue to do whatever feels good, and what motivates. Orange and Pink motivate, don't they?

    At this point in your Uber or Lyft career, do you really believe demand is outstripping supply? Or do you see dozens of available cars on your block?

    In the past, Uber has admitted that those cars are fake. If they were real, the screen would look too cluttered -- like ants, so they have to animate the availability of cars.

    But perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps I live in a city with millions of people (Los Angeles) and 60% of them just stopped using the service (continually) 6 months ago.

    Thoughts? Suggestions? Tears? C'mon, your McDonalds is getting cold.

    Want more dirty deets on Lyft? Click on my Trump Economics Avatar and scroll to the Information/About me section of my uberpeople.net page.
     
    Last edited: May 19, 2017 at 9:36 PM
  2. Arb Watson

    Arb Watson Active Member

    Location:
    Boston
    This is just a theory, but let's say the charge 200% prime time to the rider and based on that request give 100% prime time to the driver. What do you say to that?
     
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  3. Trump Economics

    Trump Economics Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    They're already doing that. The point, then, is that the ride was never 200% to begin with.
     
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  4. Arb Watson

    Arb Watson Active Member

    Location:
    Boston
    What do you mean it wasn't at 200%?
     
  5. Trump Economics

    Trump Economics Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    As I stated above, the demand -- and concurrent pricing -- was likely artificial.
     

  6. macchiato

    macchiato Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Driving:
    Lyft
    What I really want to know is when does the app decide when PT will be applied.

    Case in point, LAX. We always see the tarmac pt well before the pickup zones around the terminals when pax can't request on the tarmac (can't drop pin in the area). So does Lyft start gauging demand on app open? If so do drivers that switch to the pax app also cause demand? Does the app take into account of the phone GPS so if the phone requests from a distant zone, does it not affect the PT algorithm?
     
  7. uberebu

    uberebu Active Member

    Location:
    los angeles
    I seen it where they charge it Rider 50 % x and paid me 100% primetime. That was after I turned down a bunch line and bass. Strange that I felt no motivation to email Lyft have been corrected

    It really is all just a game that we download in the Play Store. Isn't it?
     
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  8. Certain Judgment

    Certain Judgment Active Member

    Location:
    Kenosha, WI
    Driving:
    UberXL
    I know for a fact Uber's surges are artificial. The lower east side in Milwaukee always lights up at 7:35 to 7:45 AM Monday thru Friday, and at 2:15 to 2:35 AM Friday and Saturday nights. The surge zone blankets the entire downtown area. I have been in the heart of these zones before, and the weekday morning surge especially does not get me any rides.
     
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  9. Trump Economics

    Trump Economics Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Again, we have to remember that passengers (nor drivers) are causing the demand (therory), and when Lyft or Uber puts demand in areas that are implausible, it's their goof. You're thinking cause and effect. Think cause -- it's all illusory. Lyft, for example, knows how many people need a ride from the airport because they know how many rides they gave to the the airport, so return estimates on any given day would be similar -- there's precedent. Also, arrival information from every airliner is widely available, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was superimposed into the algorithm.

    And that's because you're not really in a high demand area, you're just in an area that's predicted to have demand.


    I call it a payday loan, but yea, I guess you could say it is all a game -- one with no winners.
     
  10. eberglar

    eberglar Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    The surges at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas have nothing to do with real time demand. The airport lights up every morning at around 4 AM. There are no planes landing at 4 AM. The first plane of the day will usually come in after 6, and when it does, the surge is gone. I never stage at the airport and never will but the newbies are all over like white on rice.
     
  11. Markeezee

    Markeezee New Member

    Location:
    Orange County
    Pretty much the pink/orange squares are "predictive" NOT "descriptive". That is to say that those PT squares don't truly reflect the demand at all at real time but what is "predicted" to be. I live in Fullerton, CA and the downtown area is bright pink in intervals of 12am, 1am, and 2am it is a way to signal unsuspecting drivers to trek the area in the hope of landing a PT ride but truth is it's a way to be there to supply a unknown demand because the PT are not real-time. Lyft just wants to direct you to a particular spot and once the supply exceeds the unknown demand then PT is killed. I've learned NOT to make the trip to a PT area because the PT squares are at times random and premeditated on Lyft's part. Case in point, on my way to Cerritos Mall, I had a ping for 25% PT with a 4.2 rating, I was hesitant to take it but did so anyway and it paid off given it was a longish trip to Ivar Ave in LA at a club. But what striked me was that this place was and has NEVER been a PT area. It's a quiet residential area! My suspicion is that that due to the passenger's low rating Lyft set a particular rate for this person and packaged it as PT to some driver (myself) to entice them to take it. If it was a PT fare that destination would have a pink square around it. At the end, the passenger was pretty amicable and actually gave me a tip at the end. I guess knowing he has a low rating, he tipped me and was at his best behavior the entire trip to hopefully bring his numbers back up. But truth is, I get PT pings no where a square area and likewise, when I am at a PT square dead center, I get a ping outside of the PT zones. So, no, I no longer chase the surge or PTs because it's seems all randomized and manipulated in my opinion. PT is just chum for us fishes and by the time we get there the chum dissolves in the ocean not even grabbing a succulent piece of it.
     

    Attached Files:

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  12. eberglar

    eberglar Active Member

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I've learned to lend even less credence to a rider's star rating. Were you really hesitant to accept a ping at 25%PT that was only 4 minutes away because of the rider's rating?
     
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  13. uberebu

    uberebu Active Member

    Location:
    los angeles
    Let's just pretend for a minute that this application that we downloaded in the Play Store is a game. What would be the best way to play to ensure the optimal outcome for everyone?
     
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  14. uberebu

    uberebu Active Member

    Location:
    los angeles
    It's actually simpler than that. It does the same thing here in LA too. And guess what. It's when schools start and end. And demand goes up because drivers are taking their kids to school. And those of us left are taking other peoples kids to school...Viola. Supply and Demand 101.

    In this example it is a natural surge.
     
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  15. MiddleClassedOut

    MiddleClassedOut Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Philadelphia
    I actually don't think Lyft is all that underhanded with Prime Time. But there are weird quirks in their algorithm that creates "prime time free zones," at least in my city. It would be interesting to get to know another market. You can create Prime Time yourself in a high-request area if there are few cars. Here's how:
    1) Find an area that usually has decent demand with < 3 cars.
    2) Drop a pin in area where the nearest car has an ETA > 5 minutes.
    3) Request 3x and cancel. First request will go to closest car. Second will go to next closest, god knows why. Third will go to some idiot 15 minutes away who accepts to get the guarantee or whatever.

    You should have 25% at that spot. You may get it even faster if there's been another request in the meantime in that area. Also you may get PT at the spots where the cars WERE. Additional requests should increment in to 50%, then 100%.

    If you can form a Lyft Mafia in your town, you can take advantage of this system.
     
  16. uberebu

    uberebu Active Member

    Location:
    los angeles
    There is an app with just this as a hidden function. Took me a while chasing my own PrimeTime tail before I realized that I was the one creating it...LoL
     
  17. Adieu

    Adieu Well-Known Member

    Location:
    OC
    Driving:
    UberSELECT
    That's why they ban out lyft pax accounts for cancellations now
     
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  18. Trump Economics

    Trump Economics Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Agree with everything you just said. I've noticed an influx of Lyft Line calls coming in at 25% now.

    I'm hesitant because of the 25%. McDonalds is expensive.

    Stop. Taking. Calls. That. Aren't. Prime Time. And. Force. Legitimate. Change. What's fictional tends to get thrust into reality when there are no other options. If you show Lyft that you're not willing to drive for less than $1.50, that's what they'll charge.

    Create our own demand? How would their system not detect when a driver is going above and beyond "predictability," in order to create factual Prime Time rates? And would deactivation not be imminent? I mean, they're evil, but not dumb.
     
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  19. Adieu

    Adieu Well-Known Member

    Location:
    OC
    Driving:
    UberSELECT
    Problem: NOT willing to drive for $1.50
     
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  20. Trump Economics

    Trump Economics Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Or charge them $5 bucks a pop and you can cancel as much as you want. Easy money.

    That's because you drive Premier and already make that. But for normal calls, $1.50 to $2.00 would be legit (in my opinion).
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2017 at 9:07 AM

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